Last semester I took part in the Erasmus+ Staff Exchange and went to our partner university ESIC Business and Marketing School (Madrid, Pozuelo de Alarcon). It has been such a popular university among our students for a student exchange and as a Study Consultant it is important to understand what are they facing when starting this adventure. Erasmus+ Staff exchange offers exactly that – a hint of the whole experience combined into a few intensive days. I had 2 days to explore the university, the city and have meetings with the university personnel.
ESIC is a huge university which has different campuses all over Spain as well as a few in Brazil due to the similar language background. Undergraduate studies last for 4 years and an obligatory internship is on the last year. Graduate studies are around 1-2 years depending on the curriculum. There are several double diploma possibilities at ESIC. Not to mention many partners around the world. University is located in Pozuelo de Alarcon which is located further from the city.
I had the chance to meet Oskar and Peeter during my visit there – our students making their II year at ESIC. They are in the beginning of their experience. It was interesting to hear that their study sessions are during evenings from 17:00-22:00 and to pass a subject your attendance in the lectures must be minimum 75%, in every subject. In most of the subjects they have 1 group work and a possibility to choose between 2 midterms covering half the subject materials or one exam for the whole material. The subjects are quite practical and the lecturers themselves are practitioners some of whom are top managers of their field in a huge international corporation. Even though the university offers the possibility to take Spanish then it is in the hands of the student to master the language by practicing it more and it is not always easy to find a local person to talk to when you have lectures full of international students.
During my visit I also met Jose. He is an alumnus of ESIC who was an Erasmus student at EBS in 2009/2010. After he returned to Spain he went to work in a bank and at the same time opened up his restaurant, La Esquina de Chamberi. We were sitting there together with a few of other Erasmus students of the same year and talked about the Erasmus experience at EBS about the lecturers he had here. Jose liked that the studies at EBS were very practical.
They were still talking about their Erasmus family, about how close they still are. This is the experience which you can’t get from anywhere else. Tallinn is such a small city that most of the exchange students know each other and it gives so much extra value to the exchange studies whereas taking an exchange in a big and international city might mean that you are not as close to the other exchange students. They are planning a 10 year reunion in Estonia to come and see all the familiar streets, restaurants and sights.
On my second day I got to meet the university International office. They were extremely warm and welcoming. I got to see the campus and we talked about how the studies are held at ESIC. ESIC became 53 this year. It is one of the first business schools in Spain offering education in business and marketing. I would especially bring out the focus to marketing and less options for an exchange student in finance.
International Office has around 200 exchange students each year. I understood that our students have a hidden task. Each student should understand that when going abroad they are not only the ambassadors of Estonia but also the face of EBS. Maybe the only connection to EBS and Estonia for the people they meet.
With Erasmus+ programme you have an opportunity to gain an experience of a lifetime. No trip can substitute it. It will broaden up your mind where ever you make it. And I was happy to experience it once again.
Author: Kaisa Lindenburg
Editor: Liisa-Maria Lillepea